Netherlands Shine in Euro Opener, Pacific Four Series Unveiled, Celtic Challenge and Six Nations Dream Team Revealed | WRR 139

Welcome to the Women’s Rugby Rundown for January 29-February 4. In this edition, we cover the Netherlands’ impressive performance in the European Championship opener against Sweden, the Pacific Four Series matches have been announced, we’ll explore the Celtic Challenge standings and playoffs, we’ll take a look at the combined Guinness Six Nations Dream Team by Sage, and take a global look at Premier and Club competitions around the world.

In XVs news, on their 19th encounter, the Netherlands achieved their largest victory against Sweden in the opening match of the European Championships wining 59-0. Both teams will face off against Portugal and Spain in their remaining matches. Then the Dutch are set to host Colombia for the pivotal WXV playoff on March 16, aiming for a win to stay on course for their goal of reaching the Rugby World Cup for the first time since 2002.

The fixtures for the 2024 Pacific Four Series, featuring Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Canada, have been announced, presenting a crucial chance to secure a spot in the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025. Locations are still to be determined but qualification outcomes include the top three teams securing places in WXV 1, while the fourth-placed team will earn a spot in WXV 2.

After 5 rounds, the Celtic Challenge Play Off is taking shape, with the undefeated Wolfhounds leading the table, Edinburgh securing the second seed with a victory against Clovers who hold the third position, while Gwalia Lightning, Brython Thunder, and Glasgow Warriors compete in the play-offs in the bottom half of the table.

The recent announcement by Sage UK and the 6 Nations of a combined women’s and men’s Guinness Six Nations dream team has sent shockwaves through the rugby world. While some may see it as a gimmick, we believe it’s a stroke of genius. Why? Because it challenges outdated notions about athletic ability and celebrates the sheer brilliance of rugby players, regardless of gender. By selecting the top performers based on data and analysis, not gender, Sage has created a team that transcends traditional boundaries. It’s a testament to the fact that talent, skill, and unwavering commitment aren’t confined to a specific chromosome set.

In Premier & Club news, Tokyo Sankyu Phoenix emerged victorious over the Pearls, claiming the title at Japan’s 10th National Championship.

In the Allianz PWR, Gloucester-Hartpury and Bristol secured comeback victories against Leicester and Exeter in Round 10 of the Allianz PWR, with Gloucester overcoming a 19-point deficit against Leicester and Bears reversing a 12-point shortfall against Exeter.

Moving to France’s Elite 1, Bordeaux kept their undefeated record in Pool 1 after 6 rounds, holding the top position, with ASM Romagnat following closely. In a competitive scenario, Montpellier Herault contends for position, and the bottom three teams face uncertainty. In Pool 2, Toulouse overtook Blagnac with Grenoble and Lyon in contention.

In Spain’s Iberdrola, after 7 rounds, CRAT continues to maintain the lead. Majadahonda, El Salvador, and Sant Cugat have secured top-four positions with direct passes to the playoffs. Meanwhile, the bottom four teams now vie for their spots and strive to avoid relegation.

Shifting to the USA Club Women’s Rugby scene, our guide has been revised with updates from eight leagues currently in action. Only Socal was active in D1 with Belmont Shore moving from fourth to second while there was more action in D2. In Red River. the SHARCs moved from fourth to second, Florida has begun play but we’re waiting for RX tables to be updated,  Charlotte moved from third to second in the Carolinas, Santa Monica leads SoCal, San Jose leads NorCal, Las Vegas leads the Southwest and in the PNW the Championships are set with Portland vs Mudhens at a neutral location.

We’ve been informed about some Canadian rugby that we’ve overlooked, with no offense intended to our North American friends. In the British Columbia’s Premiership, Vancouver takes the lead after 7 rounds, closely followed by Capilano, Seattle, Westshore, Castaway, and Abbotsford. We’ve tried to understand the makeup of the other provinces and territories but we’re struggling. We’d love any insight anyone can share, send us a message!

Italy’s Serie A Elite second phase saw Valsugana, Cus Milano, Benetton, and Capitolina securing crucial wins in the Playoff and Playout Groups. Teams have a week off and play resumes February 17-18.

In Uganda’s Nile Special Premiership League, Black Pearls, Thunderbirds, and She Wolves each secured a win in their opening fixtures.

The Latin Challenge will wrap up this weekend as Zebre goes head-to-head with Sitges, and Benetton hosts Valencia. Benetton and Zebre are currently tied after the 1st Round, each securing a win and amassing 19 points, setting the stage for an exciting weekend with much at stake.

Following 2 rounds of the Kenya Cup, Mwamba, Rongo, and Shamberere continue their unbeaten streaks, with Mwamba and Rongo leading in the Nairobi and Western conferences, respectively.

Lastly, Brazil introduced a revamped XVs competition featuring a Championship and a Development format, encompassing teams from various regions. Play begins April 13 with playoffs to come in the summer.

We conclude the week with 7 features and 8 media. Stay connected by subscribing to our episodes on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, or Patreon. Follow us on your preferred social media platforms to never miss out!

tl;dr: In the Women’s Rugby Rundown for Jan 29-Feb 4, we highlight the Netherlands’ standout performance against Sweden in the Europe Championship opener, reveal the Pacific Four Series matches, delve into Celtic Challenge standings and playoffs, showcase the combined Guinness Six Nations Dream Team by Sage, and provide a global overview of Premier and Club competitions.

Women’s Rugby Rundown Video Update

Never miss one of our episodes! Subscribe on SpotifyApple MusicYoutube or Patreon and be sure to follow us on all your favorite social media platforms.

@yscrugby In the Women’s Rugby Rundown for Jan 29-Feb 4, we highlight the Netherlands’ standout performance against Sweden in the Europe Championship opener, reveal the Pacific Four Series matches, delve into Celtic Challenge standings and playoffs, showcase the combined Guinness Six Nations Dream Team by Sage, and provide a global overview of Premier and Club competitions. Watch our video & read all the news using the link in our bio! Never miss one of our episodes! Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube or Patreon and be sure to follow us on all your favorite social media platforms. #womensrugbyrundown #rugby #womensrugby #wrugby ♬ original sound – YSCRugby

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Women’s Rugby Rundown News

XVs

International

  • Netherlands opened their Europe Championship with 11 tries beating Sweden 59-0 [link]
    • Scrum Queens match report [link]
  • After 5 rounds, the Celtic Challenge Play Off is taking shape, with the undefeated Wolfhounds leading the table, Edinburgh securing the second seed with a victory against Clovers who hold the third position, while Gwalia Lightning, Brython Thunder, and Glasgow Warriors compete in the play-offs in the bottom half of the table [link]
  • The fixtures for the 2024 Pacific Four Series have been revealed, offering a coveted spot for the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 [link]
    • Scrum Queens shared their thoughts [link]
  • Sage and Guinness Six Nations released their combined Dream Team based on performance data [link]
    • In our feature, we celebrate how the team defies gender norms, emphasizing rugby excellence rooted in skill, dedication, and performance data [link]

Premier & Club

  • Tokyo Sankyu Phoenix took home the title at Japan’s 10th National Championship [link]
  • Gloucester-Hartpury and Bristol secured comeback victories against Leicester and Exeter in round 10 of the Allianz PWR [link]
  • Following 6 rounds of France’s Elite 1, Bordeaux maintains an undefeated record, while Blagnac leads the standings in the other pool [link]
  • After 7 rounds of Spain’s Iberdrola, CRAT maintains the lead, while Majadahonda, El Salvador and Sant Cugat secure top-four positions with direct passes to the playoffs; the bottom four now fight for their spots and to avoid relegation [link]
  • Our USA Club Women’s Rugby Guide has been revised, featuring updates from 8 leagues currently in action, including notable movements like Belmont Shore advancing from fourth to second in SoCal WD1, SHARCs progressing from fourth to second in Red River WD2, and various developments in leagues such as Florida, Carolinas, SoCal, NorCal, PNW, and Southwest [link]
  • Vancouver leads British Columbia’s Premiership after 7 rounds but is chased by Capilano, Seattle, Westshore, Castaway and Abbotsford [link]
  • Italy’s Serie A Elite second phase saq Valsugana, Cus Milano, and Capitolina securing important wins in the Playoff and Playout Groups [link]
  • Black Pearls, Thunderbirds and She Wolves scooped a win each in their opening fixture of the Uganda’s Nile Special Premiership League [link]
  • The Latin Challenge continues this weekend with Zebrea facing off against the Sitges and Bennetton hosts the Valencia [link]
  • Mwamba and Rongo maintain unbeaten records, holding the top positions in their respective conferences within the Kenya Cup [link]
  • Brazil introduced a revamped XVs competition featuring a Championship with teams from São Paulo Capital, São Paulo Vale, Central-West, Paraná, and Rio de Janeiro, while the Development format includes teams from Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, São Paulo Interior, and Minas Gerais [link]

Women’s Rugby Rundown Features

  • PWR highlights Black Girls Ruck and recognizes their impactful endeavors in positively transforming the rugby landscape [link]
  • We shared Natalie Bjorklund’s transition from pole vaulting to rugby in our series ‘Pioneers of the Pitch’ [link]
  • Ellie Boatman talks about her struggle with body image and launching the ‘Beyond the Scale’ project to help others [link]
  • WXV’s thread on Babalwa Latsha, Africa’s first female professional rugby player can’t be missed [link]
  • Raquel Kochhann returns to SVNS after ACL replacement and cancer treatment [link]
  • The 2023 Uganda Cup Final witnessed not only Nile Rapids’ triumphant debut but also made history with  all-women match officials [link]
  • Check out a preview of the Super Rugby Pacific and Super W pre-season trials [link]

Women’s Rugby Rundown Media

  • What on earth has Emily Scarratt been up to in training? [link]
  • Gwen Crabb returns to rugby after close to a year away [link]
  • Edinburgh’s Nicole Marlow shares her journey from Hong Kong, Cardiff to Edinburgh [link]
  • Enjoy a behind the scenes look at what makes Harlequin’s lock Kaitlan Leaney tick [link]
  • The journey of Lizzie Hanlon, shifting from a diver to an unexpected addition to the Women’s Six Nations squad, is a story worth hearing [link]
  • WRP 172 includes Sadia Kabeya and Sara Bern discussing the PWR, Red Roses, Celtic Challenge and more [link]
  • The 90 Days Play recounts the inspiring tale of how Scotland’s pioneering women’s rugby team, driven by self-belief, emerged as the unexpected rescuers of the 1994 Women’s Rugby World Cup [link]
  • The Rugby Wrap caught up with Aussie 7s star, Isabella Nasser, to get her thoughts on the Perth Sevens and what’s in store in the lead up to Paris [link]

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